Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Props to JanSport!

A little over decade ago - I arrived in rural Illinois with a 60 liter backpack (~15.85 gallons) and two suitcases (Ed. Note: this was back in the days when airlines didn't charge for the first or second checked in luggage - sigh). I quickly realized that lugging the 60 liter backpack around one's college campus was not really practical proposition and accepted the sad reality that I needed to spend US dollars (USD) to buy a backpack in America.

I wasn't accustomed to spending American dollars, and back then, the exchange rate was around one USD to thirty three New Taiwan dollar (NT). When one considers that the minimum wage in Taiwan at the time was about NT$65... one can easily see why a fresh off the boat kid from Taiwan would shy from spending $45 USD to buy a backpack.

Fast forward ten years...the bag began to show its age and contracted the dreaded zipper disease. The sling was also slowly separating at the seams and one of the water bottle elastic retainers had snapped. I remembered that JanSport had a lifetime warranty and sent my backpack off to its maker with a note describing the necessary repairs.

A week later I received this email:
"Thanks for being part of our history. You may not know it, but that pack you sent back for inspection recently is now part of a rich history that started way back in 1967, when our first pack hit the trail. We build our packs to last. So when one doesn't, we want to learn what went wrong. And make it better. For you and all the other people who love the outdoors as much as you do. Your pack should be home soon, better than ever. In the meantime, if you need to check on your bag, please call (800) 426-9227."

A couple more weeks later - my bag arrived in the mail, good as new with a blue bow tie - awwwwww.

JanSport really has a nice warranty service... although this makes me wonder how JanSport and its corporate sibling, "The North Face," combine to sell approximately half of all backpacks in the United States. Uh... do people just throw their backpacks away? Why not send it in for repairs and pass it on to the children and teach them how to value longevity and heirlooms?

And JanSport should consider making holsters and gun bags. The conservative folks will appreciate a good reliable bag and a honest warranty.